Mar 5 2008
01:41 pm

Senate Bill 1408/House Bill 1829 mandates deposits for recycling of drink containers.

It will result in less litter along our roadways, less waste in the landfills, money saved on litter crews, and improved scenic quality of Tennessee.

Once assigned by the government operations committee, Senate Bill 1408 will go to the Senate Committee for Environment, Conservation and Tourism for a vote, probably next week. If approved, it will go to the full Senate. Once there, its chance of passage is deemed excellent.

If your State Senator is on the Environment, Conservation, and Tourism committee, encourage them to support this bill.

For more info visit the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project website.

gonzone's picture

Wil this

Will this include Jack Daniels bottles? I hear there's a guy in the Nashville area has a lock on them. :-)

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Jack's picture

Bottle Bill Will Do Little to Reduce Litter!

Why would we spend so much money to fight such a tiny fraction of the litter problem. Bottles and Cans make up a lowly 5-15% of all litter in Tennessee; Fast Food Waste/Wrappers make up at least 50% of all litter.

I'm all for spending State Dollars to fix the litter problem, but the Bottle Bill spends a Lot of money to tackle a relatively Small portion of Tennessee litter...

A comprehensive approach would be more cost-effective, and better able to address the Real litter problem.

Elmer_Gantry's picture

Volunteer To Enact The Tennessee Bottle Bill!

Jack seems to be spewing out the same inaccurate, low-ball, anti-bottle bill propaganda generated by Keep America Beautiful (an non-profit "anti-litter'' organization created by representatives of the U.S. beverage industry during the middle of the last century in response to public outcry against with the then exploding problem of the then relatively new non-deposit beverage cans): as independent studies routinely reveal --- i.e., research not paid for by either the beverage, packaging, grocery, or convenience store industries --- that beverage containers comprise approximately 55% of the roadside litter found across the United States.

And enacted Tennessee bottle bill legislation would specifically address the problem of beverage container litterng across the Volunteer State and clean up that littering problem and help brewers like Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc have an easier access to recycled aluminun cans!

Tennessee Senate - SB1408

Bottle Bill Toolkit - KAB History
Container Recycling Institute


Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. Earns Keep America Beautiful, Inc.’s Annual Vision for America Award

Jeanne's picture

Because it's time

"Why would we spend so much money to fight such a tiny fraction of the litter problem."

Because 50% to 75% by volume is not a tiny fraction
Because it works in other states
Because the roadways in rural Tennessee all look like they lead to the dump

Jack's picture

Interesting point, though my

Interesting point, though my perspective is more focussed on Litter Prevention (Behavior) and Comprehensive Beautification.

The litter problem occurs because of many individual acts of littering: Bottles and cans are only 5-15% of what is littered.

Certainly Bottles and Cans weigh more than the most commonly littered items, but in terms of "littering behavior" and "curb appeal" , the Bottle Bill falls way short.

The Mass and Weight of less commonly littered items (bottles and cans) are not very significant in terms of overall Blight, and neither are they comprehensively significant in terms of Littering Behavior.

I generally favor the effort of this bill, but its focus is too narrow.

Jeanne's picture

Don't Throwdown on The Bottle Bill

Bottles and cans are only 5-15% of what is littered.

This comes from surveys that do not differentiate between litter on a downtown street and litter on a rural country road. Cedar Bluff may have more fast food wrappers, but the western section of Northshore has more beer bottles and soda cans.

The Mass and Weight of less commonly littered items (bottles and cans) are not very significant in terms of overall Blight, and neither are they comprehensively significant in terms of Littering Behavior.

That statement may apply to weight, but mass? Mass - amount of matter - is extremely significant in terms of overall blight.

I agree that changing littering habits is the key, but nothing tried so far in Tennessee has worked. It makes sense to me to put a monetary value on the items being thrown out of car windows. No one throws nickles and dimes out because they're too lazy to take them home.

Jack's picture

I have not seen any studies

I have not seen any studies that show Bottles and cans make up more than around 15% of all individually littered items. Do you know of such a study?

I would be particulaly intersted in studies that are conducted by parties who have not actively lobbied for the Bottle Bill. I also would be suspect of surveys by organizations who have argued against the Bottle Bill.

As far as the "Mass of Roadsight Blight" is concerned, this type of blight assumes a Visual Mass.

Certainly a Wendy's Fast food carry out bag takes up more "Visual Blight Space" than most bottles, dispite bottles having more weight, even more mass by volume. The wendy's bag produces more blight by Visual Surface Area. And more importantly, fast food waste/wrappers are littered more commonly than recycleable Bottles and Cans.

Recycler's picture

Kentucky 1999

Kentucky 1999

Michael's picture

It's a good thing

Having lived in Michigan with its above average 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans, I can attest that it is very successful at discouraging them as litter. I suspect the law also has an impact on solid waste disposal needs where it's been adopted.

The only shortcoming I could see was that the law was not written broadly enough. One doesn't find a soda or beer container anywhere on the street. But other beverage containers (milk, anything that contained a hint of juice, etc.) continued to show up. Once the other container debris is out of the equation, these really stand out.

It was sometimes irritating when retailers would refuse to refund deposits on cans due to dents (crushed was out of the question*). But most were very reasonable.

*There's good reason. There's a burden on grocery stores and other retailers to maintain sanitation. And storing a few thousand crushed cans with small amounts of sugar and water trapped in them doesn't promote that. So there's a certain degree of discretion on the part of the seller/refunder as to what they'll accept.

Michael's picture

On a side note

Last year in Seoul, I encountered separation centers in fast food places. Discarded food or drink goes in one (funneled) hole, paper products in another, and drink containers in another. This was in place of the conventional trash and tray receptacles.

Imagine how much waste could be prevented if McDonald's instituted the same here.

I also wonder what percentage of litter is made up of non-biodegradable trash such as glass or aluminum.

Jeanne's picture

Bottle Bill is a good first step

A litter study that counts a straw wrapper and a beer bottle as statistical equivalents is designed to make cans and bottles seem insignificant, and is suspect unless the same trash is also counted by volume. How many bags of cans, bottles, other? I'm not aware of any studies that do that, I think most are done with an agenda behind them.
I base my comments on my experience. I spend over 100 hours a year picking up trash, and have done so most of my adult life. I consistently fill more trash bags with bottles and cans than other items; sometimes 2 to 1. I do this in order to recycle what I can, not in support of any legislation.
SB1408/HB1829 won't solve the problem of litter completely, but it's an excellent start. I come from a "bottle bill" state and I know it cuts down on litter and eventually changes the habits of litterers, and for that reason I support it.

Carole Borges's picture

Stats from PIRG in MA prove bottle recycling works


Tennesee can improve upon the standard bottle recycling laws other states originally passed. Let's make it comprehensive here.

Thanks for visiting my blog: (link...)

Elmer_Gantry's picture

I am now thinking that Jack

I am now thinking that Jack is merely a forum stooge for the Keep Tennessee Beautiful propaganda ministry...

onetahiti's picture

A good bottle bill is a wonderful idea!

I've lived in two states with good bottle bills (MA and WA) and once passed they were very popular. Some in industry fought them but the bills turned out to be good for all. None of the dire things warned about happened. :)

Kids loved the income from picking up bottles and cans as did enterprising adults. I remember one fellow in Boston who was making $60k per year collecting bottles and cans back in the late 70's and early 80's. And the streets were free of cans and bottles. As a kid I made a few dollars myself that way.

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